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Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

A mysterious package

I got the call at 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning in October of last year. I was up studying before my Orgo Exam. “NDSP” popped up on my phone. Thinking it was some security test, I let it go to voicemail. Unexpectedly, my phone dings a minute later: “New Voicemail from NDSP.” Not knowing what to expect, I listened to the voicemail. It was a woman informing me that a package was being delivered. However, there was an issue with it, and I should call immediately. So, I called back. 

“Hello.”

“Hi, my name is Ellie. I was just called about a package…?”

“Hi, Ellie. Well there was some internal damage to your package. The policy is to hold the package and have you come in. It’s just a precaution in case someone sends a bomb, or something else dangerous,” said the woman. 

“Someone sent me a bomb??” I thought to myself.

“... Um okay… So, am I in trouble?” I said. 

“We just need you to come get the package.”

“Well, I have an exam this morning. Could I come after?”

“I — I guess. The sooner the better,” she said.

“Okay. Thank you?”

Now I was nervous. Someone had sent me something dangerous? Why would I need to come in to pick up a bomb? Shouldn’t they be the ones to deal with it. Oh … did they think I sent myself a bomb? Obviously, Mr. FBI agent, I’m innocent!

So, like any Gen Z kid, I Googled it.

Yeah, probably not the smartest thing to Google when you think you’re going to be arrested for sending yourself or receiving a bomb. Well, to the FBI agent looking at my search history, I swear — I’m innocent

After calling my mom panicked with no answer, I took off to my exam. I don’t remember it very well. I just wanted to go to the police station and get my bomb.

I finished my exam quickly and headed to the station.

“Hi, I need to pick up a package. There was something wrong with it. I was called this morning …. ” I said shakily to a skinny man behind the desk.

“Oh — you’re the bomb girl, huh? Let me go get Steve” (or some other generic name that I can’t remember) the skinny man said.The other people in the office started to stare and back away ... and I just stood there, awaiting my fate. 

“Name, date of birth and valid form of state identification” Steve asked me. He scanned my ID, skeptically. After a few minutes of quizzical looks, I felt the urge to confess. Steve finally broke the silence, picking up a tattered, damp, destroyed box and thrusted it in my face.

“Do you recognize this package?” he said. 

“Um… No. I don’t.” More staring and silence. 

“Come with me,” he sighed.

He went into a room, placing the package on the table. “The policy is that you have to be the one to open the package. Then we have to analyze the contents,” Steve said handing me a box cutter. 

Now, in my head, I was like okay, I know two things. One, I did not send myself a bomb. And two, someone else sent me a bomb? So, if someone else sent me a bomb, then opening it now would mean that I’d die. So why would they have me open the box? God, don’t they have common sense? Obviously I wouldn’t send myself a bomb! I would die.

But, I said nothing. As I started to open the box, they both back up to the wall .… It was just me and the bomb. So, I just I ripped open the tattered box, closing my eyes in case of an explosion (as if that would save me from a bomb. But, hey! We all do stupid things in … dire situations, I guess). Still being alive, I opened the box. 

“Describe what you see,” the skinny man said. 

“There are a bunch of gummy bears, crackers …” I said.

“Is there anything in there that is more round and heavy?” he said.

Like a bomb? I thought to myself….

“I think I see something” I said.

“Very carefully take it out of the box,” Steve said from a safe distance. 

I reached my hands in, carefully lifting the heavy, sticky object. Were bombs sticky? Pulling it out to chest height, I showed the officers. 

“What is it?” the small man asked.

“ ... It’s kombucha …?”

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.